Gender in My Little Pony
Gender is a complicated topic that can't be summed up on an article on a My Little Pony wiki. In the franchise, most characters can be confidently labeled as males or females, including many individuals who are not biological entities, such as robots or spirits, as they often identify as one or the other. Many events and organizations are heavily gendered.
My Little Pony and gender
As horses have traditionally been associated with girls, My Little Pony too quickly became marketed towards girls in the 1980s. Despite this, the creator of the franchise, Bonnie Zacherle intended the original My Pretty Pony toy to appear to boys as well, a sentiment followed up by Lauren Faust, show runner of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Despite this, branding for the toyline was unambiguously feminine until 2016, when the current logo of the brand was changed from a girlish pink to a neutral purple.
Male characters in the franchise was relatively barren until Friendship is Magic diversified the cast. The only recurring males in My Little Pony were Spike, Danny Williams and The Moochick though, many episodes had one-off males, typically as princes, kings or knights. Most antongists of the show were males, but numerous heroic (or mostly heroic) males would also appear, most notably Alonzo, Garth and Philip. Stallions were even rarer, with most stallions being 'Big Brother Ponies' and thus were often not around, though the odd non-brother stallion would sometimes show up, such as Knight Shade.
Gendered events and groups
- Up until Generation 5, the "main group", a recurring element in My Little Pony fiction which consists of such groups as the Ponies of Pony Valley, Pony Pals, Mane Six and Equestria Girls consistented exclusively of female characters. Sunny's Friends however contains Hitch Trailblazer, who as his name implies, was the first male to be apart of one of these groups.
- Obviously, males have often been closely associated if never 'officially' apart of these groups, including Teddy, Lancer, Spike and Flash Sentry.
- It was wildly believed the Sisterhooves Social was a female-only competition, but it was eventually specified that anypony regardless of gender was allowed to compete as long as they sought to uphold the spirit of sisterhood. Before this relevation, Big McIntosh performed drag in order to participate in the games.
- Young male pony: Colt
- Adult male pony: Stallion
- Young female pony: Filly
- Adult female pony: Mare
Sometimes these terms factor into a characters name, such as Thrilly Filly.
Transgender and gender norms
According to Lauren Faust, there exist a transgender pony who appeared in season 1 of Friendship is Magic. Fans have speculated this to either be Trixie Lulamoon, Sapphire Shores or Caramel/Toffee for various reasons. Several trans fans of the show have accepted Trixie as a transgender character for this reason.
The episode "Dragon Quest" has often been interpreted as a story about gender roles and norms. Spike, a boy who was nearly exclusively raised around mares, has developed a naturally feminine personality, which he grows insecure over when others mock him for not being traditionally masculine. Later in the episode, he briefly befriends several thuggish dragons who display traits of toxic masculinity, which he cannot replicate, ultimately believing he'd rather be a 'pony' than a 'dragon', with ponies of course representing femininity and dragons masculinity. Spike would go on to display many masculine and feminine traits, further cementing his breaking of gender norms by embracing whatever he's most comfortable with.
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